There is a lot of uncertainty around the current COVID-19 outbreak, particularly given that the situation is constantly developing and the information about the virus remains incomplete. For the latest information click here.
Understandably, this is causing a lot of worry and anxiety for everyone.
Having children and young people at home, often when people are trying to work themselves, adds another layer of stress. It is therefore important to consider our physical health and pay attention to our mental health during such challenging times.
It is normal to feel worried, stressed and anxious when we are faced with uncertain situations, but the sooner we acknowledge and learn to take care of our mental health, the healthier and better equipped we will be to cope with the situation we're having to face.
Taking care of our mental health and checking in on others is something that we can all do, and we need to remember that by looking after our own mental health, we’ll be best placed to look after others, especially our children.
The suggested activities on each class page on our website will help you. Please click the links below to download the suggested menu of activities.
Don’t forget our Healthy Minds Champions have also produced their own self-calming exercises that may help at home. Click here.
There is also a St Marie’s social story that may be helpful for some of our children here.
Try to plan your days or weeks to include something from each of the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ (developed by NEF).
Try to make sure that you and your family get regular exercise every day. Join in with Joe Wicks on YouTube: The Body Coach TV (live each morning 9am-9:30am). Get children involved in planning your own ‘indoor fitness’.
If current government advice permits, try to get outside once a day either into your garden if you have one or in a place where there are few people. If you cannot go out, open the windows for some fresh air and take some time to look at the world outside.
Take a break from listening to the news and social media and concentrate on what is happening now in your family. Notice and appreciate the small things.
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing.
There are many good mindfulness apps to try, but if that’s not for you, just getting into something you enjoy e.g. cooking, drawing etc. and really focussing on it can be just as good. We have some great links below to try for parents and children, which may be helpful.
Social connection is one of the most important ways that we can look after our mental wellbeing. Social distancing is going to make that trickier, but we’re lucky enough to have technology to help us out. Think physical distancing, but social connections.
Social media is great, but if you can, try to have phone calls or even video calls. Arrange for your children to Facetime/Skype their school friends and phone relatives more often than usual. Adults could Facetime/Skype a friend for coffee and catch up.
Whilst it can be helpful to share worries, try to find other things to talk about too.
Research tells us that giving back to our community helps people to feel valuable and makes us happier. We might not be able to contribute to our community in our usual way, but many people will still be able to find ways to give back.
Many of us will not be in a position to offer practical support. We can still offer mutual support to friends and family by checking in with them regularly.
Learning a new skill or honing an existing one gives us a sense of purpose and achievement.
Whilst we are busy learning, we’re less likely to experience anxious thoughts and worries. Social distancing will bring new challenges, but it will give many of us the time to start a new hobby or learn about an area that we have always been interested in.
Glenda Strong, an artist who provides an after school art club for some of our KS2 children, has made a You Tube video and will post a video each Monday afternoon. She hopes it will give the children some continuity, and the child in anyone, some happiness. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDOqZWpKpdFa7HaB-hpLng/videos?view=0&sort=da&flow=grid
Below you will find some useful links and websites to help you and your children during these challenging and difficult times. If they want, please give your children an opportunity to talk about their feelings – feelings are normal – this situation isn’t.
General – for parents/carers
Sheffield Healthy Minds leaflet for parents - http://www.st-maries.sheffield.sch.uk/index.php/ourschool/news/item/download/613_1f630d1f1e8dfaf33578897d99c7af29
Supporting parents and carers video - the Anna Freud Centre. This video provides guidance to parents and carers about how they can support themselves and their children during any disruption caused by the coronavirus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnANLAcpRZ4&feature=youtu.be
Mind UK - UK Mental Health Charity with information and an online mutual support community https://www.mind.org.uk/https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/support-community-elefriends/
Talking to your child about the coronavirus – YoungMinds - https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
Single Parent Helpline: 0808 802 0925 gingerbread.org.uk
One Parent Families/Gingerbread is the leading national charity working to help lone parents and their children.
Call: 0300 123 7015
Grandparents Plus is the only national charity (England and Wales) dedicated to supporting kinship carers - grandparents and other relatives raising children who aren't able to live with their parents.
Helpful resources for talking to children about Coronavirus
Covibook (As this is translated in to different languages)
Samaritans – emotional listening support. Call 116 123. https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/
Family Action - Telephone: 0808 802 6666; Text message: 07537 404 282
The FamilyLine service supports people who are dealing with family pressures in a new and innovative way by using a network of volunteers from across the country to support family members over the age of 18 through telephone calls, email, web chat and text message.
Family Lives (previously Parentline) Call: 0808 800 2222
https://www.familylives.org.uk/how-we-can-help/confidential-helpline/ Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline) for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. The helpline service is open 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday.
General – for young people
Newsround video - A short book about Coronavirus for children where Dr Chris explain what’s happening https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51342366?fbclid=IwAR3CyZq5rzXVoyGCgWjjpx6YqoetuZ1tP16y7wMjUR6uwgWyhRmf0aFTrAs
A selection of self-care strategies that have been developed by young people to help manage their own wellbeing. During a time when access to regular appointments may be disrupted or anxiety might be heightened, it might be helpful to try one or some of these strategies. https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/
Helpful information to answer children questions about coronavirus - Place2Be https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
Coronavirus and your wellbeing – Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapse842d2
Worries about the world - Childline advice page. This page includes information on what concerns a child might currently have, for example about the coronavirus, and some things to try to address these worries. https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/anxiety-stress-panic/worries-about-the-world/#coronavirus
Calm zone - Childline
A toolkbox of activities such as breathing exercises, coping videos, yoga videos and games that can help children feel calm in a period of disruption. https://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/calm-zone/
Understanding anxiety illustration - Priory Group. https://www.priorygroup.com/media/594863/understanding-childhood-anxiety-v1.jpg
Coronavirus comic strip – NPR. A comic strip to help children understand what the coronavirus is and respond to some common questions and worries they may have. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus?t=1584358951699&t=1584454700885&t=1585049944355
Kooth – free, confidential online support for young people. www.kooth.com
Resources for children and young people with additional needs:
Social stories to help.
Contains a link to the most up to date version of their “Easy Read” for young people and adults with learning difficulties.